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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Georgia Draft Wrap-Up

A few quick thoughts on the draft...

-- I joked on Twitter that I thought the Eagles were getting the steal of the draft with Jeff Owens, but that could turn out to be prophetic. I'm at a loss to explain how a guy who was dominant at both the Senior Bowl and combine still had lingering questions about his health, but that seemed to be the case. Here's what ESPN wrote of the pick:

"Owens has great size but has had some durability issues in the past. He has the strength to anchor on the inside for an Eagles' line that is lacking depth."

So he has great size and strength and fits a big need, but he has "durability issues?" Owens was hurt just once, and while it was a serious injury, he came back and played all of last season without any lingering problems. Sounds pretty nitpicky to me, so I'm thrilled to see my favorite team grab him late.

-- By the way, my Eagles went very SEC heavy: Trevard Lindley, Riley Cooper, Charles Scott, Jamar Chaney and Owens.

-- And no, I won't be investing in a Riley Cooper jersey.

-- On the other hand, I'm begging my buddy who is a Bills fan to purchase an Ed Wang jersey.

-- Rennie Curran went in Round 3, and that's probably about right. For everyone who said he should have stuck around, this was probably the best he could do regardless. So the question then was whether Curran wanted to leave and get a jump start on his pro career or stay in college one more season. Read his answer about that later in this post.

-- Reshad Jones, on the other hand, probably could have made himself some money by playing a year under Scott Lakatos. Jones told me earlier in the week he was expecting second or third round -- and truth be told, that's where most draft projections had him. So the fifth round had to be a bit of a disappointment, and I think his inconsistent play at Georgia was what hurt him. A year of consistent success could have helped.

-- Say what you will about the talent level at Georgia, but to have three defensive tackles drafted in the same year isn't something you'll see often.

-- Mike Moore might have been a bit disappointed to go undrafted, but that was an uphill climb to begin with. In the end, he may have lucked out. Rather than get stuck as a minor cog for whichever team might have taken him in the draft's latter stages, he'll now be working with his old quarterback in Detroit. And that's a franchise that has a lot riding on Matthew Stafford's success, so if Staff thinks Moore deserves a spot on the roster, that's an opinion that should carry some weight.

-- Bryan Evans signed as a free agent with the Bengals and Prince Miller inked a deal with the Ravens. You can see all of the 2010 undrafted free agent signings HERE.

-- Overall, things could have been better for Georgia. Last year, Atkins may have been a first-rounder, and Jones and Owens didn't go as early as most fans hoped. But that's probably to be expected coming off a down year -- particularly for the defense -- at Georgia.

-- Aside from Clint Boling, there doesn't appear to be a lot of seniors in the class of 2011 at Georgia poised for a lot of draft-day buzz, but it'll be interesting to see how the junior class progresses. With good seasons, Justin Houston, Brandon Boykin, Caleb King and several others could all spark some interest from NFL teams. And, of course, A.J. Green should be high up on 32 draft boards next spring.

***

A few tidbits, courtesy of the SEC…

-- The SEC had 49 players selected in the 2010 NFL Draft. The number represents the most SEC players ever taken in the NFL Draft.

-- The SEC had the most players taken among conferences in the draft. Behind the SEC’s 49 selections were the Big Ten (34), ACC (31), Big 12 (30) and Pac-10 (29).

-- Since 1990, the SEC has had 782 total selections in the NFL Draft, an average of 37.2 selections per year. The Big Ten is second with 672 selections.

-- Since 1997, the SEC has had 552 total selections in the NFL Draft, an average of 39.4 selections per year.

-- The SEC has now led or tied for the most selections in the NFL Draft for 11 of the last 13 seasons and the last four drafts.

-- All 12 SEC schools had at least one player selected in the draft. The numbers alphabetically: Alabama (7), Arkansas (1), Auburn (2), Florida (9), Georgia (5), Kentucky (3), LSU (6), Ole Miss (4), Mississippi State (2), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (6), Vanderbilt (2).

-- The SEC had at least five players taken in every round of this season’s draft. The league had eight players taken in rounds 2-3-5, seven players taken in rounds 1-4, six players in round 7 and five players in round 6.

-- There have been 67 first round SEC selections in last 10 drafts, an average 6.7 per year. The most by the SEC was 11 in the 2007 draft. The lowest in the last 10 drafts was four in 2003 and 2006.

-- The SEC has had at least seven players taken in the first round in back-to-back drafts (8 in 2009 and 7 in 2010).

-- Since conference expansion in 1992, the SEC has had 114 players taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, an average of 6.3 per year.

-- The SEC has had five picks in the top 20 of the first round four years in a row.

-- Since 2004, the SEC has had 32 players taken in the first 18 picks of the first round.

-- In the last eight NFL drafts, 11 of 12 SEC teams had at least one player go in the top 11 of the first round.

-- The SEC has had 3 of the top 8 picks in NFL draft for 4th straight year and 5 of last 6 years.

***

You can read my draft story in today's Telegraph HERE.

And here are a majority of the quotes I got from Georgia's drafted players after their selections. Unfortunately, Reshad Jones is no longer returning my calls....

Geno Atkins on getting the call...
"It was kind of surreal. I'd just left the house to go to my grandma's house and I got a call from the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. He called me up to say I was the 120th pick of the draft, and I was like, wow. It was a surreal moment because I finally got drafted, but I didn't get to see my name go up or anything like that."

Atkins on going to Cincinnati...
"I'm very excited. I'm looking forward to doing some big things there and helping contribute to the team in any way possible. I'm really excited now that I finally know where I'm going."

Atkins on how he fits the Bengals' D...
"I think I fit in pretty well. I think what Cincinnati liked about me was my speed, my quickness, how I use my leverage, my strength and stuff like that. So I think I fit in pretty well with their defense."

Rennie Curran on the aftermath of his selection...
“My phone just exploded when my name came up on the screen and people found out I’d been drafted. My Facebook exploded, my Twitter exploded, everything. My family when crazy, everybody crying and praying. I had like 200 text messages on my phone.”

Curran on getting the call...
“It was an awesome moment. We had been watching the draft since like 6:00, and everybody was tired, everybody was worn out, eyes getting heavy just waiting on that call, and it kept getting close to the end of that round, and it was looking like I was going to get drafted on Saturday. All of a sudden I saw that 615 number, and it was the best thing I’ve ever seen.”

Curran on Jeff Fisher's message to him...
“I talked to Coach Fisher and he said he expects me to come in and contribute and be a great player for them.”

Curran on how he fits in the Titans' D...
“I fit in perfectly. They run a lot of the same schemes that we run, it’s just a different terminology. They run a lot of the same coverages, same technique, same everything pretty much. So overall I feel really good.”

Curran on his expectations...
“I’m going to contribute. I’m not going there to be a special teams player. I’m trying to get on the field just like I did at Georgia – right away.”

Curran on whether being taken in Round 3 justified leaving early...
“A lot of people were saying he won’t go until the fourth round or fifth round or he might not get drafted. A lot of people had negative things to say, saying he should have come back. I’ve read the articles. I’m real glad I went. I miss being at Georgia, miss my teammates, but I’m glad I made the decision I made. And it feels good being a father knowing I can take care of my daughter and provide for her and help my family get back on their feet. I’m just excited about my future, and I’m definitely going to go back and get my degree. I’ll do whatever it takes to get that. It’s important to me. But for now, I think if I have a great career, I can play for 10 years and establish myself for the rest of my life playing the game that I love.”

Jeff Owens on the long wait to be drafted...
“I just wanted to make sure that if any team called me, tell them if you pick me, you won’t regret it. I’m just glad that Philly picked me when they did.”

Owens on his contact with Philly...
“The first time they called me, the defensive line coach called me and told me he wanted to take me, but he didn’t have the final say so. He liked what he saw on film, and he said I’d have a chance to come in and compete. Then he called back again and said he was going to take me. Then I heard from Coach Andy Reid and I’m glad to be a Philadelphia Eagle.”

Owens on playing with Jamar Chaney, who was also drafted by the Eagles...
“We originally signed at Georgia together. Things didn’t work out and he had to go to Mississippi State. I guess we’re supposed to finally get a chance to play together.”

Owens on what his feelings were during the draft...
“Well it was stressful, but I’m just glad that it’s over. I wondered why it was taking so long to go off the board, but I guess a bunch of teams were still worried about the knee injury. I thought that was in the past. I’ve been healthy from that. Now I’m just trying to go out and show I can play in the NFL.”

Owens on his contact with Kade Weston...
“We talked twice. He called me and we talked about a second. Then he hung up with me, and it was the Patriots calling to draft him.”

Kade Weston on his long wait...
“Getting to the end was the toughest part. At first, I was like, if I don’t get drafted, worst case I still can make a team and have to work hard. But the worst part is when teams start calling and tell you to look out for your name. We have this pick and if you’re still available, we’ll get you. But then you see them take other guys. A couple teams called and then took other D tackles. That was the frustrating part.”

Weston on how he fits in New England's D...
“I feel like I’ll fit in good. They were saying stuff about technique, but I’ll line and play in whatever they want to do. It’s a great franchise, so I’m pretty excited.”

Weston on moving to New England...
“It’s not that new. My parents stay up in New York, so I’m accustomed to the North.”

Weston on his contact with Geno Atkins...
“It’s funny because I was talking to Geno right after he got drafted, and we were talking about all those situations, talking about when we first got to Georgia."

Weston on if he's looked ahead to see when he'll play against Owens or Atkins...
"When I get off the phone, I’m going to be doing that.”

Weston on actually getting the call from New England...
“It was great. My agent, it was just getting down to the end, and a lot of teams were calling about me. My agent called and said, OK, worst case scenario, we like the Giants roster and Houston’s roster, because they’re not as loaded and there’s a better chance to make the team. Then I had to put him on hold, and it was the Patriots.”

12 comments:

Woolly Butts said...

David, you forgot to mention this year's Mitch Mustain Draft Day award, which goes to Jevon Snead, who went undrafted.

Fl Dawg said...

David,

I also thought Geno would go sooner he was dominating at the Senior Bowl! The guard from Idaho Iupati who was a first round pick of the 49ers couldn't block him and had to hold him , geno used and abused him. Just doesn't add up to me but it was a very deep draft for dline.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on 3 DT's from one team being drafted. It is a testament to the Defensive coaching staff of, oh, wait...

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Anonymous said...

Bad news from a usually reliable source.... Logan Gray is going transfer, will be announced Monday.

Anonymous said...

o reshad...

also - curious about this logan gray comment. haven't seen/heard anything similar elsewhere. so thats pretty interesting.

bconner3 said...

where is this stuff about gray transferring coming from? seems like something that would be making a bit more buzz if it's a fact as you say

IveyLeaguer said...

"my Eagles went very SEC heavy: Trevard Lindley, Riley Cooper, Charles Scott, Jamar Chaney and Owens." Man, I'll you what. The Eagles came out great. Those are really good players. SEC.

As far as Reshad Jones, if anything, he was picked higher than what he deserved. Like I've been saying, and catching flack about for 2 years, film doesn't lie. Reshad Jones was, overall, a pitiful safety in college, and that is apparent from the film. Either Miami didn't watch enough film, they became drunk with Jone's physical abilities, or decided they would take a chance and make him a project. They didn't pay all that much, several low-round picks, but the opinion here is they overpaid.

I have nothing personal against Jones, but I've been happy he is no longer a Dawg. The only time I've felt that strongly about one of my players in 50 years. I hope he takes care of whatever money he gets, helps his grandparents a little, and goes on to be successful in life.

But I doubt that success will come in professional football. Certainly not without some kind of metamorphosis.

~~~

UGA69Dawg said...

The draft situation is a result of UGA's season. Had we won more the guys would have gone higher. This should be a lesson to future guys.

Carter said...

I can top Ed Wang.

I swear to you that I went to high school with a Philip Wang. Everybody (teachers, parents, classmates) called the kid Phil Wang. Very few people verbalized or even realized the inherent hilarity. I think I went to school with too many uptight, churchy kids.

Anonymous said...

Geno has the best chance to succeed of all the UGA players, surprised he didn't go higher. Based on the Senior Bowl, I am suprised Owens got drafted at all, but I hope he proves me wrong...just could not get off the blocks. Rennie has a decent chance to make it if he improves his pass coverage skills. Moore might be the only other player to make a squad, imo. Reshad needed another year, at least.

jm said...

Reshad Jones has the best chance to start next year of any of the players chosen.

The 2nd safety spot opposite Yehemiah Bell in Miami is completely up for grabs and ones is more physically gifted than the other three guys competing for it.